HOMELESSNESS AND THE CHECKERED MUG

I am standing in my kitchen holding a white coffee mug with a checkered band and it gives me enormous strength. I am facing the possibility of homelessness and I can use all the strength I can get right now. I have been homeless before and know its merciless grip all too well. Now I face that stark reality again. I’ll get to why in a minute. But first, back to the mug with the checkered band.

I bought it one summer morning in 2001 while having breakfast with my mother Leona in California. She was dying of liver cancer and we both knew it.

My mother surrendered me for adoption seven days after I was born on October 2, 1953. We were reunited in Stamford Connecticut on January 8. 1987. By 2001 we had grown close and developed deep understanding that in many ways we mirrored each other. Those who knew us best said we each had uncanny levels of prescience, deep reserves of courage, and enormous compassion for all who have been brutalized in life. We were both deeply sentimental. Which is why, when we were having breakfast that morning, I asked the waitress if I could buy the cup I was using.

The waitress and my mother had been talking about cancer. My mother’s and someone the waitress knew. She said, “I’ll do you one better, wait her.” She went into the kitchen and soon returned with another mug in better condition tucked in a brown paper bag. “Just take it,” she said. Then, nodding towards the man behind the register she added, “That sonuvabitch will charge you an arm and a leg. Take it.”

As some of you know, I am in the process of applying getting back onto the disability rolls. My brain injury along with an ample supply of depression, agoraphobia and PTSD have taken there toll. A man I once worked for has been helping me keep my head above water until my disability kicks. However, without warning he let me know Saturday he can’t help me anymore. With no family to fall back on coupled with being in the midst of filing for disability, the situation is not good.

I spend much of my life helping others so believe me, the act of asking for help buckles my knees. But I must live the things I have taught others for more than two decades now: just because you feel hopeless does not mean there is no hope; just because you feel humiliated does not mean you are humiliated; just because you feel weak does not mean you are weak; and just because you feel it is weak to cry doesn’t mean crying is an act of weakness, else why is it so hard to do?

A friend of mine said, “Peter, you live a simple live. It’s not about extravagance.” She went on to say you are asking for help to keep a roof over your head, food in the refrigerator, your bills paid. She and others have urged me to ask for help and support here on the blog. Lest you think I am sitting quietly by, let me reassure you that is not the case.

I will be going to the Department of Social Service this week for emergency food stamps and support. If I am approved, I will only receive half the money towards my rent. I rent a modest home for $650 per month, have the attending car payment along with utilities and, of course, food, phone, electric and, God help us all, oil heat.

My life is about helping others survive. Now I am in a position to ask others to help me survive. Not an easy thing to do, but there is a reason they say pride goeth before a fall. I can tell you Iwould a lot better if you asked me for help. But I recognize this is a personal crisis. I also recognize I am only trying to keep myself alive and functioning to keep doing what I know I do best; help and advocating for others. I have spent the better half of my life doing that.

A lot of my readers don’t know me personally. But I have done my best to give you a glimpse of my life through the blog. I want to continue to be able to use this tool to write and give others hope. This will be impossible for me to do without the support of others. I am hoping some of you can send a donation to help me. In doing so I will be able to keep my home and pay the bills for food, heat, rent and electricity until the disability kicks in.

The donations can be made out to and sent directly to me at:

Peter Kahrmann
P.O. Box 19
Westerlo, NY 12193

I understand these are hard times for everyone. My basic belief though, is that people in general are good hearted and can be called upon in times of need. I honestly never thought I would be in this position to ask for help from my readers. If you are able to come to my aide I would deeply appreciate your generosity. I hope I will be able to give back to you as well.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Peter
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